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Resisting the Black Hole
Trying to stay with the light
*This text has been started at a very low point, mood-wise, meaning that on a scale of -3 to 3, I was pretty much sitting on the -3’s lap. It’s been finished and edited on a much lighter tone, closer to zero, with hints of a historic high at 2.
Black holes aren’t a concept I understand quite much, but what I know about them is that they tend to attract and grasp anything in their vicinity. There seems to be a black hole concern in my existence now, but I haven’t figured out yet if I am being sucked in by it or if I am the black hole.
People diagnosed with depression, or a mental health disorder that can be treated and recovered from, experience darkness when they are in their depressed state, apparently. But what if PDD, permanent depressive disorder, is real, and what if it’s my own personal black hole? How can I get out of it? When hearing people talk about their depression or their burnout, I feel their pain, their discomfort, but I cannot relate to their story. Even if I have hidden my dark side for most of my adult life, adolescent even, it has always been there, and it doesn’t seem to respond to any of the common depression definitions. It goes up and down during the day and I am functional most of the time.
Persistent depressive disorder sounds more accurate to me, and it terrifies me. Or is it simply my autistic giftedness, this poisoned gift? This state of darkness has been a part of me for very long, decades-long. I turned 41 yesterday, and my son 14 the day before, and I cannot help but notice how good he looks compared to me at the same age. Fourteen was the age I stopped eating, and when I lost a part of me that had barely just existed. He has friends, plans, passions and most of all, divorced but loving parents. My parents are still together, but what a fucked-up pair. I despise my birthday because I know my father might call. He did in fact, and the red dot on my phone app keeps reminding me I haven’t dared to listen to his message. I am still figuring out which is the worst, the red dot or the victim-sounding fake loving voicemail.
Today is a bad day. I have even been physically sick yesterday; I have an improv show tonight and I just want it to disappear in the void and not go. Tuesday’s class made me hate myself, and I feel like crap (improv is normally my happy place). Most of the time, I can perfectly conceal this state of mind and act normal, but it got too intense, and I cannot anymore. My sleep feels like air, I call it “celery sleep”. It’s so agitated that it exhausts me instead of recharging me.
In the past days and weeks, I have written a lot, but it mostly went to my unpublished folder. When it’s too dark, I tend to refrain. People worry too much, or they accidentally make it worse by implying that my life is fine, that I am so lucky or that some are in way worse condition. I couldn’t possibly care less about the feelings of the mass when I am in such a misery. I breathe pain and sadness 12 times a minute. The reason I don’t tell anyone anymore is to protect them, especially my sons and my boyfriend. I don’t want anyone to feel sad or responsible for my circumstances, even if they are. Guilt is a terrible feeling that nobody should experience, except maybe my father, who is the origin of all this shit, while pretending to be a victim of everyone.
Some days have passed since the previous sentence. Right before my show, I snapped a little, cried a little, enough to relieve some pressure and give me the strength to go the bar and improvise. Everyone was there, except the dead one, obviously.
As soon as I entered the room, my instructor came to see me, asked how I was, and hugged me. He knew because I had told his friend (the other teacher). It was a life-changing hug. I am not a hugger. If I do it, it’s because I get dragged in it, and I feel weird after. Not this time. He side-hugged me, and instead of fighting back, or turning into a statue, I just surrendered my head on him, to a point where I didn’t even smell his smoker scent. It was quick, seconds, but it was enough to break the first seal. Let’s call it a restorative side-hug.
Right after, I went to talk with the other instructor, the first one’s best friend, and whom I had texted to say how miserable I was. Why him? I have no clue. Not having real-life friends is a time ticking bomb, and you never know in whose face you’ll throw it. He told me I was his friend and he was there for me. I don’t believe friendship is that easy, but I’ll have to take it because it helped.
My first improv was good, good enough to give me this confidence I needed to go on with the night and go up to a 2 (on my -3 to 3 scale), a state that slowly decreased in the following days. From one of my darkest states since my divorce, I got back on my feet enough to find some peace, at least until my appointment with my therapist. Never could I have believed that a quasi-stranger’s suicide could bring me so low. Once again, it proved me that I need people, even if I am so bad at friending. Alone, I cannot seem to be able to find the light when in complete darkness.
It's now been exactly a week since I started this post, and I have surfed on two highs due to improv adrenaline. The slope that comes after is much smoother than with alcohol or any addiction, I suppose. The week has been better than the previous three, but I cannot help but remember how scared I got when I hit rock bottom. There was not the slightest ray of light, for around three or four hours, I couldn’t picture a future for myself. One side-hug, improv adrenaline and the closest possible from friendship I could finally see the light again.
This event changed my perspective on life, again. I wonder how long after losing the light J decided she would end her life. What if someone had side-hugged her with intent to heal? Is it “so easy”? Now I need to find meaningful relationships with real people in real life who are not my partner and kids, and I honestly don’t know how to make friends and keep them (or don’t run away from them). Until this happens, I will invest more time in improv, hoping that the lights never turn off again. I am like a cat, I can amplify the light, but I can’t do it if it’s totally dark.
Note : Improvisation is the best damn therapy I have ever had.